RNA localization in neurite morphogenesis and synaptic regulation: Current evidence and novel approaches

Martin Mikl, Georgia Vendra, Michael Doyle, Michael A. Kiebler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


It is now generally accepted that RNA localization in the central nervous system conveys important roles both during development and in the adult brain. Of special interest is protein synthesis located at the synapse, as this potentially confers selective synaptic modification and has been implicated in the establishment of memories. However, the underlying molecular events are largely unknown. In this review, we will first discuss novel findings that highlight the role of RNA localization in neurons. We will focus on the role of RNA localization in neurotrophin signaling, axon outgrowth, dendrite and dendritic spine morphogenesis as well as in synaptic plasticity. Second, we will briefly present recent work on the role of microRNAs in translational control in dendrites and its implications for learning and memory. Finally, we discuss recent approaches to visualize RNAs in living cells and their employment for studying RNA trafficking in neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-334
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Axonal and dendritic RNA localization
  • Dendritic spine morphogenesis
  • RNA imaging
  • RNA-binding proteins (RBPs)
  • Translational control at the synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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